CD Review

V/A - "Visions of the Apocalypse"

By Marcus Pan

Visions of the ApocalypseMy main attention grabber for this compilation was the appearance of Circle Of Dust, a band that my friend Kim used to make me listen to all the time. I was pretty surprised to find them here, on a CD that features "Unreleased Gothic/Industrial." But pleased I was nonetheless. Additionally, this compilation is to "introduce to you the Gothic/Industrial scene on the East Coast of the United States." Being on that particular side of the states, I was rather pleased with this as you can expect.

I have a few quirks with the compilation as a whole however. First off, what's up with the cover shot that, as far as I can tell, shows some guy giving a knight in armor a blowjob? And then some Buddy Holly looking fella enjoying the show? Wassup with that?

Secondly, the music itself doesn't seem to fit. The songs don't mesh together well. An example of a compilation with well-chosen songs and appearances is the Detroit Electronica Coalition's D[electronic]T. On there, while the musical styles would go from industrial to ambient to techno, they still fit together like a puzzle. Here the songs are thrown in helter skelter and they don't have this fitting-together sound. Kind of like a really bad DJ doing a messed up set - "And now following that awesome block by Metallica…here are the Spice Girls with their latest hit!" Sure, that's an extreme example - but the analogy does explain what I mean.

Kado is the label responsible for this compilation. There's no band contact information for anybody that appears here, so I had to do it all myself. Warning to bands - make sure the label putting out the compilation you are appearing on is sure to provide at least SOME contact information so people like me who like what they hear can tell you that. Otherwise it's dead advertising - a ghost in the CD player.

Now on with the track-by-track blathering. In all cases, I did everything I could to find web sites and other contact information for all bands that appear here - since Kado wasn't willing to do it for me which they should have (BAD Kado…BAD!). But if there is no contact information provided for any of the appearing bands I'm going to talk about here, that's not my fault. So on with the blither blather…

Contact Information: Kado
Post: Nesak International, 460 Ridgedale Ave., East Hanover, NJ, 07936

#1 - Ethico by OutOut
Deep, guttural industrial delivered with attitude and panache, OutOut is based out of Northampton, Massachusetts. Currently on the well known Metropolis label, Mark Alan Miller, the brains of OutOut, has four albums available - Voiceprint, Nisus, Finched and Pepperbox Muzzle. Ethico is a very heavy industrial and follows the standard format for this style - thrashy guitars, background white noise, vox-ridden vocals.

Contact Information: OutOut

#2 - Words From Nothing by National Razor
Keeping with the industrial thrashy guitars, but adding in more distortion than you can shake your stick at, National Razor's Words From Nothing is done with more style. The drums are interesting and quirky. The super-distorted guitar takes away from the track's control and throws in a healthy dose of chaos - this could be good or bad depending on where you stand. The vocals are more humanistic. Currently, National Razor have two full length releases available: Shiver and Stem of Thorns.

Contact Information: National Razor

#3 - Crescent and the Star by Sunshine Blind
A band that needs no introduction, Sunshine Blind have come far in the past few years. I first discovered them myself when they were cut from the Dark Harvest III bill by Andrew Eldritch of SoM a few years ago - not a good way to discover a band. But I've enjoyed their work since. Crescent and the Star is a good darkwave-rock song with a folky feel to it. However it doesn't seem to fit on this compilation following two heavy industrial acts. They don't list this appearance on their website either. Not surprising.

Contact Information: Sunshine Blind
Post: Energy Records, 545 8th Ave. 17th floor, New York NY 10018

#4 - Excursions In Stars by Loretta's Doll
Ok, first we went from heavy industrial to darkwave. Now where going from darkwave to…a poetry reading? What the FUCK?! A tumbling beat and an annoying, sliding bass make up this track along with Bryin Dall's chanting poem. I could have done without it. I haven't heard any other work by Loretta's Doll previous to Excursions In Stars, but I'm hoping very hard this isn't reflective of their standard sound.

Contact Information: Loretta's Doll
Couldn't find any - however their name in Yahoo will pull up a few reviews, interviews and other rhetoric.

#5 - Parasite by Circle of Dust
Circle of Dust contribute a complicated song. A lot of elements make up Parasite. You can hear the techno synthwork, the industrial/metal guitars and even what sounds like live drums. The vocalists, as there are either more than one person or one guy really getting happy with the track mixer, are well done and mesh with the music. None of the separate elements of Parasite stand out - instead they blend together into a well done arrangement of sounds.

Contact Information: Circle of Dust

#6 - Head of Lenin by Digital Poodle
A technoish rhythm with a bit of sampling (gunshots, screams, etc.) and strong metal-tinged keyboards, Head of Lenin is, well, interesting. I was expecting a Russian sound - I dunno, something from Tetris I guess - given the track name. Vocals are highly voxed and robotic. Some Kraftwerkian computeresque synthwork comes in later adding to the track. Somewhat known and held on the Metropolis label, Digital Poodle are from Toronto. Which begs me to ask - what about the whole "East Coast of the United States" thing, Bobby?

Contact Information: Digital Poodle

#7 - Kun De Profundis by Sleep Chamber
Again we lose the coherency of music on Visions of the Apocalypse and go into a deep, ethereal sounding track from Sleep Chamber. Kun De Profundis is a simplistic song with tribal drums and a somewhat ethereal keyboard occasionally playing a few chords in the back. The other main ingredient is the chanting male vocals similar in style to the Loretta's Doll track also on this compilation. I'm not impressed.

Contact Information: Sleep Chamber
Couldn't find a site for them.

#8 - Rainworld by Requiem In White
With the name of the track I was expecting another ethereal nuisance. Instead I was greeted by a heavy metal sounding guitar riff and the bass hits that help kick off the introduction to Rainworld. The guitars become more darkwavish-rock oriented later - but the introduction is definitely done with a glam-metal flair. I'm not saying this is a bad thing - I wore denim once too. The female vocalist of Requiem In White holds a tune well and is quite strong vocally, but the blaring darkwave guitars overshadow her too much.

Contact Information: Requiem In White
NOTE: This is an "unofficial site." I couldn't find anything else.

#9 - Anastasia by Vein Cage
Vein Cage is a side project that involves OutOut's Mark Alan Miller. A typical drum beat opens up to trashy guitars. The bass is in the background, but is strummed loud enough that it kind of stands above the other guitar mish mash except for the times the guitars do the high-pitched whiny thing. The vocals are, again, highly tainted with effects.

Contact Information: Vein Cage
None - link from the OutOut site doesn't work.

#10 - I Have Sinned by Martyr
Trash guitar, heavy bass, white noise, robotic-fart vocals. Industrial at it's…blandest? Most typical? Standard? You decide. I always assume that if the vocals are this fried in the effects gear that they're not understandable, they probably didn't have anything cool to say anyway.

Contact Information: Martyr
The word "martyr" pulls up so many hits in Yahoo that I'm not even going to bother. Besides, I'm kind of hoping they're not recording anymore.

#11 - The Temple by Golden Dawn
Moody with chanty vocals and a constant strumming bass, The Temple is a blend of poetry, ethereal keyboard squealies and probably one of the most monodromic drum beats and bass lines I've heard. The vocalist is SO depressed…somebody do him a favor and inject some absinthe into him. I can't do it - I fell asleep.

Contact Information: Golden Dawn
All I could find with these key words was a bunch of magic circles and pagan pages.

#12 - Misanthrope by Argyle Park
Finally a band I could find on the web that doesn't have a name that pulls up twelve billion pounds of rhetoric. Of course, trying to hit the site that shows up as "Entertainment > Music > Artists > By Genre > Industrial > Industrial Rock > Argyle Park" gives me an error. Fucking figures. Argyle Park is another industrial act. They really get into the movie sample thing, sticking in various yells and pissed off quotes. Vocals are more whisper-growl like than robotic - when they show up. This could be any of the other industrial bands featured on Visions of the Apocalypse. Typical.

Contact Information: Argyle Park
See above.

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